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Jan 6, 2009 11:41 PM

Coast Cafe Cambridge

Really good southern hole in the wall in Central Square. Mainly fried foods, with some caribbean touches (also fried). They put their heart into it and it shows.

Mainly a local take out place, only 3 seats at a counter. Consistently good southern food made from scratch. I even had the sweet potato pie and liked it, and I hate the very idea of sweet potato pie.

Very inexpensive, as one might guess.

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  1. Isn't a fried chicken plate over $10? I always felt the place was more expensive than the tiny-takeout-hole appearance and casual food quality justified.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Luther

      I think it has crossed the $10 threshold. I've been getting the smothered chop plate recently which I think is up to 12-13$. It isn't as frequent of a spot for me just because the prices are starting to creep up and become more of a 'treat' for me than anything else.

    2. tried it once on the strength of recs from the board. didn't care for the fried chicken (over done, to my taste), and the biscuits definitely tasted as if they were from a box. a bit artificial tasting, as i recall. don't recall them being particularly inexpensive, but it's been awhile.

      3 Replies
      1. re: autopi

        I'm with you autopi -- I thought the chicken was burnt-tasting and sort of expensive for a counter chicken joint.

        However, I like to drop in for a meat patty if I'm in the neighborhood. They keep them in the hot case by the register.

        1. re: autopi

          The cornbread isn't very good, that's for sure. Which isn't to say that it's bad, it just is kinda meh.

          I personally like their chicken, but I've always preferred the sort of "crisped up from the bottom of a cast iron pan" type of chicken as opposed to deep fried chicken

        2. CC is in my neighborhood, and thus our go-to place for some good chow. But here is the deal with them: they close early (9PM), and if you place an order near to the closing hour, you will get burnt/overcooked chicken, guaranteed. I don't know if its because they keep some precooked stuff on hand to double cook in a pinch, or because the oil is just worn out by then, but it's a real drag to get home to find it that way, especially since they'll be closed by then, so there's no complaining. On the other hand, if you order mid-day, or at 7PM, it is superlative fried chicken, as good as it gets.

          6 Replies
          1. re: dikaryon

            I've gone around 1pm on a weekend and gotten burnt chicken.

            1. re: dikaryon

              Thanks for the tip - I have never had what I considered to be burnt chicken on maybe a total of six visits lifetime.

              1. re: dikaryon

                Haven't had burnt chicken there, but could see how it could happen. A word to the chef in advance maybe?

                I searched on the board for posts about it, but oddly none came up

                1. re: BostonCharles

                  As in "chef, please don't burn my chicken"? I don't think so. I don't think it's actually burnt, it simply tastes burnt to me. I'm glad that others enjoy it.

                  Search results are limited to a year and I'm sure it's been longer than that since we've talked much about Coast, although it does come up in the Fried Chicken threads.

                  1. re: yumyum

                    Search results aren't limited. Search by relevance, not date, and a number of posts from 2004-06 come up.

                    1. re: yumyum

                      Also, once you enter your search term and the results come up, you can change the number of years to get older results.

                2. I personally love the Coast Cafe. I've never gotten burned chicken before there and it's always been moist and juicy when I've had it. I love the collard greens too. They definitely make a different style of fried chicken---it's more of a breadcrumb type than a buttermilk batter type at least from what I've had.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: BackBayGirl

                    I'm actually curious about the "burned chicken" folks. Are they talking blackened? Or are they talking about the scorching in spots that happens from sitting on the bottom of the pan?

                    The latter is a Good Thing, the former a Bad Thing.

                    1. re: jgg13

                      When I went the chicken was not visibly burnt. It looked great but tasted scorched.

                      1. re: jgg13

                        I've said "burnt-tasting" not "burnt-looking". No visible scorch marks, just a bitter burnt taste. Like, um, burnt fried chicken.

                        1. re: yumyum

                          Like old oil or the oil hadn't been strained in a while which means the crusty pieces keep getting more and more burned, infusing the oil with the burned flavor, which of course ruins the taste of anything fried in it. I had that happen at Coast once. It was also really bland once.

                    2. I've been a few times and while I like the feel of the place, I also thought it had that slightly burnt taste that many have mentioned. Liked the sides.

                      Hen House Wing's/Waffles on Mass Ave had better fried chicken imo.